Coach Kristina Llanes said she took a different approach in choosing the captains than other programs might. She had each player nominate themselves and give a speech on why they deserve to be captain before the team casts its vote, and the three local players ended up being the leaders.
“There is a couple of reasons why we do that,” Llanes said. “We want them to understand the responsibility in becoming a leader and we want to make sure they are ready for the challenge.”
All three have different personalities, Llanes said. Schmidt is the more upbeat of the three. Southerland is the verbal one who’s not afraid to provide positive and negative feedback, and Fitzgerald is the “leader by example.”
Llanes said the team will need a mixture of the three personality types as the Owls gear up for their first match Feb. 13 when they play at Vanderbilt.
And all three of them are expected to play midfield this season.
Schmidt is a junior played club lacrosse for Kennesaw State two years before joining the roster. A midfieldder who can transition well from offense to defense, Schmidt helped lead Sprayberry to the playoffs in 2008 and got the Coaches Award before she was named MVP the following year.
“I just want to help the team have a successdul season and build a good foundation,” Schmidt said. “My role is to keep everyone positive because we may have some rough games, being our first year. I want to make sure everyone is having fun and enjoying it.”
Southerland, a sophomore, will likely be the one attempting to win draws for the Lady Owls. She won back-to-back Defensive Awards for Harrison her junior and senior years and is remembered for scoring the breakaway goal in overtime that led to a Harrison victory over Kennesaw Moutain in the first round of the state tournament.
Fitzgerald was Kennesaw State’s first lacrosse signee and often led Sprayberry in scoring last season. She’s also served as captain for Sprayberry and was a two-time MVP.